State-owned Russian news agency RIA Novosti has reported that former NSA contractor and US fugitive Edward Snowden has been given an official pass to leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
Snowden has been living in the transit zone since arriving from Hong Kong on 23 June 2013. He has requested asylum in a number of countries and been accepted by some in Latin America, but has been unable to leave Sheremetyevo. He recently requested temporary asylum in Russia where he hopes to live and work until he can resolve the situation, Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told RT.
News agency Interfax also reported that Mr. Snowden could leave the airport within the next several hours, citing an unnamed source.
Russia's Federal Migration Service is said to have issued the documents. Temporary asylum is given for a one-year term, and this can be prolonged for a further year indefinitely.
At around 15:00 (BST) today, Antatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer assisting Snowden with his asylum request, told reporters that the certificate had not been received. He didn't cite a specific reason, but he did note that Snowden's situation was not a standard process. Kucherena added he had brought Snowden a copy of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s "Crime and Punishment" to read while he waits.